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Diabetes and Your Pet

Aug 11, 2008
Most people have heard of diabetes, but few realize that diabetes is a disease that can also affect your pet. In fact, diabetes is a very serious condition and, if not treated properly, can lead to even more serious complications or even death. Therefore, it is important to test your pet for diabetes and to monitor your pet's health effectively after diabetes is diagnosed.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is a form of diabetes that affects your pet's blood sugar levels. A pet with diabetes mellitus is unable to process sugar properly, which means the body is unable to use the energy that sugar provides. Over time, the body becomes ill because of the lack of energy. Meanwhile, the sugar continues to circulate through your pet's body rather than being used.

What are the Symptoms of Diabetes?

There are several symptoms that are associated with diabetes that is not being properly regulated. These include:

* Excessive water consumption

* Excessive urination

* Reduced activity level

* Reduced appetite

* Changes in overall attitude

* Sudden weight gain or weight loss

If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, it is important to consult with your veterinarian as soon as possible. The sooner a treatment program is started, the more successfully the diabetes can be managed and the less the risk of complications associated with the disease.

How is Diabetes Treated?

Diabetes can be treated in a couple different ways, though the main goal is to mimic the pet's natural insulin, which is responsible for regulating sugar. For some pets, simply making dietary changes can be enough to successfully treat diabetes. For others, it is necessary to take oral medications or to take insulin injections.

In order to make certain the treatment program is working, it is important for you to monitor your pet's behavior, including eating and drinking habits. If you notice any unsatisfactory changes, you need to report the changes to the veterinarian so the treatment program can be changed as necessary. You will also need to test your pet's blood sugar levels in order to better determine if the medication is working properly.

Once a treatment program is determined, you may not have to monitor your pet's blood sugar levels quite so frequently. You will, however, need to be certain your pet follows the diet as prescribed and receives all necessary medications.

How Do I Monitor My Pet?

There are a couple different ways that you may monitor your pet's health. One method is to monitor the ketones in your pet's urine. This is done by collecting a sample of the urine and a testing strip. Unfortunately, ketones take several hours to get to the urine. Therefore, this test reflects your pet's blood sugar level several hours prior to the test rather than the current levels.

For up-to-the-date blood sugar levels, you have to take a blood test. Generally, the blood is drawn from the pet's ear with the help of a lancing device. The blood sample is then placed in a blood glucose monitoring kit, which will provide a reading of the current blood sugar levels.
About the Author
CS Swarens is the president of Find a Pet Online. 800 998-7065 For additional information on dogs, cats, birds, horses, and exotic pets visit the internet's pet resource including pet classifieds at http://www.findapetonline.com. Research over 430 pet breed profiles at http://www.findapetonline.com/breeds.html
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